The Puma Goes Back to School
Lance Berkman was an integral piece to the St. Louis Cardinals winning their 11th World Series Championship last season. His contributions on the field and in the clubhouse earned him another one-year contract with the club. Unfortunately, this season has been one of the most frustrating seasons of his outstanding 14-year career. Due to a nagging knee injury, Berkman has only been able to play in 30 games this season. His recent injury concerns have caused him to weigh retirement. However, he would not be without a plan.
In a recent interview, Berkman said that if he decides to retire this offseason that he would go back to Rice University and finish his degree. He would also become a student assistant for Coach Wayne Graham and the Rice Owls baseball team. Berkman would be returning to a baseball program that he helped lead to prominence in the late 1990s. He even won the 1997 National Collegiate Player of the Year award.
In addition to finishing his degree, Berkman would be using his time as a student assistant to figure out what he would want to do for his post-playing career. Berkman is considering coaching as one of those options. As I have suggested before, I think that Berkman would do well in that capacity.
Regardless of the decision that Berkman makes, he will finish his career as one of the finest switch hitters of all time. He currently has 360 career HRs (4th amongst switch hitters all time), and he’s at .296/.409/.544 as well. Cardinals fans everywhere are thankful for his tremendous 2011 season, and we all hope to see him contribute in a major way down the stretch this season.